Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tracking "The People's Pulse"

If you've been around the capitol for awhile, you start to wait for certain cyclical events, and one of them is receiving the latest edition of "The People's Pulse", a must-read newsletter put out by Hawaii Business Roundtable and Pacific Resource Partnership. The research is conducted by OmniTrak Group Inc., and copies of past newsletters going back to 2001 can be found on Omnitrak's website. The research is based on information gleaned from a statewide telephone survey of 700 adults, randomly selected, with 400 from Oahu, and 100 each from Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. From these newsletters, lawmakers can get a sense of the priority issues for Hawaii's people.

The Fall 2007 issue is out, based on a survey conducted between September 10-23, 2007. Here are just a few of the interesting trends cited:

Question: In terms of (name the issue), do you think that the State of Hawaii is going in the right direction or do your think things have gotten off on the wrong track?

Result: On the issue of "Traffic" a whopping 74% said the state was on the wrong track, and 18% said that the state was going in the right direction. On "Housing", 70% said wrong track and 23% said right direction. On "Public Education", 52% said wrong track and 39% said right direction. On "Economic Development", 46% said wrong track and 43% said right direction. On the "Environment", 45% said wrong track and 48% said right direction. And on "Quality of Life", 40% said wrong track and 51% said right direction.

There were a couple of follow up questions to "Quality of Life". What is most important to people in terms of their own quality of life? What aspect of their lifestyle is most at risk?

Top three results: By far, the answer most cited, at 42%, was that a "feeling of community or 'ohana" was most important to people and 32% said that the 'ohana (family) being eroded by in-migration is at risk. This was followed by 35% saying that a "good environment" was most important, with 20% saying that the environment was at risk, and 34% citing "affordability, affording the cost of living" was most important, with 29% saying that affordability as a quality of life is at risk.

Other topics covered in the Fall 07 People's Pulse include whether residents favor or oppose a tax hike to resolve problematic issues; what does environmental protection mean to people and what most needs protection; what actions (recycling? tax incentives to use mass transit? higher vehicle taxes for cars that use more mileage?) would people support in order to protect the environment; and if there was a Constitutional Convention in 2008, what issues would people want the delegates to address. (Sadly, more than one third had no suggestions!)

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